A Travellerspoint blog

January 2019

Searching for an Evening in the Morning

Riverside Park, NYC

all seasons in one day 42 °F

This morning before school, I was hoping to see the Evening Grosbeak that has been lingering in Riverside Park no more than a block away from my home here in NYC, the Manhattan School of Music. I started off the day with a nice male NORTHERN CARDINAL. A non-photographed bird that was cool to hear also was a CAROLINA WREN.

Then, I found it!!!! This EVENING GROSBEAK, my first of the year, allowed for an amazing photo shoot just merely feet away from me:

Bird-of-the-day to the wonderful Evening Grosbeak with runner-up to the Carolina Wren! A wonderful morning of photography! Stay tuned, because on Saturday I am headed out to Long Island again, and I will have to pick whether I would rather chase a Barnacle Goose or some continuing Black-legged Kittiwakes — exciting times ahead!

Good birding,
World Life List: 964 Species

Posted by skwclar 13:43 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Central Park, Before School

Manhattan, NYC

sunny 15 °F

Yesterday before school I walked around Central Park since I knew I wouldn’t be getting any birding in last weekend or this coming one due to friends and family. Though it turned out to be a fairly quiet morning, it was a beautiful, albeit chilly, start to the day at the Central Park Reservoir:


Seeing this GRAY CATBIRD was a treat as this species can be quite scarce during the winter. Another somewhat more uncommmon species (for this time of year) I found was an EASTERN TOWHEE which evaded any photographs.



And the gorgeous male:

Bird-of-the-day to the Gray Catbird with runner-up to the Eastern Towhee. Stay tuned, in two weekends I will probably adventure out to Long Island again in search of more life birds!

Good birding,
World Life List: 964 Species

Posted by skwclar 09:06 Archived in USA Comments (1)

An Excursion to Hampton Bay, Long Island

Shinnecock Inlet, NY

sunny 28 °F

Today, I made the tremendous trek out to the west side of Shinnecock Inlet in Hampton Bays, NY on far eastern Long Island. It was over three hours there by two subways, two Long Island RR trains, and a short uber ride. Crazy, but it was worth, it — the water birds there were AWESOME, read on!

It was a bright, sunny day but quite cold — this place, which is extremely exposed on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, is known to be quite windy, but today the wind was relatively calm and the waters were wonderfully smooth. Still, I was glad to have four electromagnetic hand warmers — both for my hands and for my feet! Putting these little packets inside your socks and gloves when birding really makes it a more humane experience.

My target birds were Red-necked Grebe, Thick-billed Murre, King Eider, and Black-legged Kittiwake, all of which have been seen here recently and would be prospective life birds. Honestly, I would count myself lucky to get just one.

Upon arriving, it was evident that Harbor Seals were around in abundance! What a treat — can’t remember the last time I saw these.

SANDERLNG on the beach:


Next, I picked out a grebe-like bird with gray wrapping around to its chest and BOOM — I asked a few birders around me for confirmation and I had my life bird RED-NECKED GREBE, a species I have been searching for so tirelessly this year! Awesome!

There were a few very cooperative RED-THROATED LOONS around, as well:

Five WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, the most uncommon scoter species of the three in New York, flew by:

BLACK SCOTERS also appeared in numbers:

And my favorite, the SURF SCOTER!

RAZORBILLS, my first alcid species (puffin, murre, etc) of the day were around and I was happy to see them!

After a couple hours of birding, I was shivering violently so I needed to walk off the jetty and get lunch at the nearby seafood restaurant. On the way, I spotted these DUNLIN on the beach:

Lunch of fish and chips with hot chocolate was delicious and filling!

After I warmed up, I was back at it and saw this COMMON LOON:

Then, one of the birders, Sue F, told me she was looking at a COMMON MURRE and sure enough there it was through her scope! An awesome species I have only seen once before, in Washington state. I was able to snap a few photos, too! VERY uncommon for New York!

This drake LONG-TAILED DUCK showed nicely off the jetty:



Then, I spotted my life bird THICK-BILLED MURRE which seemed to magically appear right alongside the jetty. Yet another New York rarity — I was ecstatic and couldn’t believe my eyes as this bird put on an energetic diving show for us, while also allowing for some photographs:

AWESOME is all I can say — this is probably my most memorable day of birding since I have moved to New York. Bird-of-the-day to the Thick-billed Murre with runners-up to Common Murre, Razorbill, Harlequin Duck, and Red-necked Grebe. So many amazing birds from which to choose!

Good birding,
World Life List: 964 Species (2 life birds today: Red-necked Grebe & Thick-billed Murre)

Posted by skwclar 12:46 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Evening Grosbeak: Fourth Try!

Riverside Park, NYC

sunny 31 °F

After reading a tweet after school that the Evening Grosbeak was reported once again one block away from Manhattan School of Music in Riverside Park, you can bet I was over there in a hot second.

While hiking the Forever Wild trail where it was described to be feeding, I saw this juvenile BALD EAGLE fly over carrying a fish:

Then, after getting a tip from a birder who passed me on the trail I walked up the hill to a tree where there were multiple photographers pointing their cameras toward a tree with brown leaves. They claimed the grosbeak was there, but it literally took me fifteen minutes before I found it because it was so well-hidden! There it was though — the famous male EVENING GROSBEAK of Riverside Park, which is my bird-of-the-day today.

Stay tuned — tomorrow I am headed out to the Hampton Bay on eastern Long Island in hopes of finding my life bird Common Murre, as well as any other noteworthy Alcidae (puffin, murre, razorbill, etc) species that would be prospective life birds.

Good birding,
World Life List: 962 Species

Posted by skwclar 13:48 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Plumb Beach Before School

Brooklyn, NYC

sunny 35 °F

Today, since my teacher cancelled so I didn’t have class until 12:30, I took advantage of the morning and made the commute out to Plumb Beach in Brooklyn in search of my life bird Red-necked Grebe; three of which had been seen there yesterday as reported on the Brooklyn Bird Alert.

This SANDERLING was a delight to see on the beach:

A far-off NORTHERN GANNET hunted over Sheapshead Bay:

COMMON LOONS abounded:



This is the best look I have ever obtained of a RED-THROATED LOON:


Unfortunately, the Red-necked Grebe was MIA, so bird-of-the-day to the Red-throated Loon with the Northern Gannet as runner-up.

Good birding,
World Life List: 962 Species

Posted by skwclar 19:26 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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